Thursday, July 30, 2015

OPP Set to Conduct “Move Over” Education and Enforcement Campaign

Dufferin County, ON (OPP - Dufferin Detachment) For the first time, the surviving family of an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer who lost her life while on duty is coming forward to talk publicly about the impact her death has had on them since they lost her in a tragic roadside multi-vehicle collision.

On the afternoon of June 07, 2000, OPP Sergeant Margaret Eve of the Chatham-Kent Detachment and two of her colleagues executed a high risk take down on a subject vehicle they suspected was involved in an armed robbery near Windsor, Ontario. The officers were interviewing the occupants on the roadside outside of their three cruisers. Moments after the officers ascertained that the occupants were not involved in the robbery, a tractor trailer crashed into all three cruisers as well as the subject vehicle.

Sgt. Eve was critically injured and airlifted to a hospital in London. Sadly, two days later (on June 9), she succumbed to her injuries. The other two officers (Provincial Constables Pask and Sakalo) were seriously injured in the incident but survived.

Sgt. Eve was with the OPP for 14 years and was the first female OPP officer to die in the line of duty. She left behind a husband and two children. Senior Constables Michael Gula, James McFadden and Constables John Gregovski and Charles Mercier also died on duty while tending to a traffic-related incident on the side of the road (between 1989 and 1999).

These tragic and preventable deaths led to Ontario’s Move Over law in 2003. The law (Highway Traffic Act Section 159 (2)(3) requires drivers to slow down and proceed with caution when approaching an emergency vehicle parked on the side of the highway with its lights activated. If the highway has more than one lane, the law requires the driver to move over and leave one lane between their vehicle and the parked emergency vehicle when it can be done safely. Failure to do so can result in fines from $400 to $2,000 and three demerit points for a first offence.

So far in 2015, the OPP has laid 763 Section 159 (2)(3) charges (to mid-June) which means that halfway through the year, drivers are paced to reach another 1500+ charges by the end of the year.

Over the Civic Day Long Weekend (July 31- August 3, 2015), the OPP will be conducting a Move Over education and enforcement campaign and are counting on all drivers to be mindful of this law. The increased traffic volumes over the weekend will result in a greater number of emergency vehicles on the roadside, making it a particularly important time to comply with this important law and reduce the risk of injury or death to emergency personnel.

The OPP will also be looking to drivers to help keep roads safe over the long weekend by refraining from driving aggressively, while impaired or distracted and by ensuring that all vehicle occupants are wearing a seat belt.

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